Co-occurring chronic pain and primary psychological disorders in adolescents. A scoping review.

Sharon Bateman, Line Caes, Christopher Eccleston, Melanie Noel, Abbie Jordan

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Long term health conditions, whether mental or physical, often co-occur in adolescents. For instance, adolescents with chronic pain may experience co-occurring primary psychological disorders. In this scoping review, we determine the influence of co-occurring chronic pain and primary psychological disorders on adolescents’ functioning.
A systematic search of six databases was conducted to identify articles if they were: 1) peer-reviewed; 2) reported original findings; 3) included participants aged 11-19 years, who experienced chronic pain (i.e., pain lasting 3 months or more) and had a co-occurring diagnosis of a primary psychological disorder; and 4) assessed functioning.
Searches returned 9,864 articles after removal of duplicates. A two-phase abstract and full-text screening process identified two eligible articles which compared emotional functioning (n=1) and social functioning (n=2) between groups of adolescents with co-occurring chronic pain and primary psychological disorders with adolescents only reporting chronic pain. Overall findings revealed no differences in social functioning, but adolescents with co-occurring chronic pain and a primary psychological disorder (depression and anxiety) reported worse emotional functioning compared with adolescents with chronic pain alone.
This review confirms the limited research on co-occurrence of primary psychological disorders and chronic pain in adolescents by only identifying two eligible articles exploring the co-occurrence of chronic pain with depression, anxiety, and/or attentional disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
JournalPaediatric and Neonatal Pain
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2023

Bibliographical note

The first draft was written by Sharon Bateman and all listed authors are confirmed as contributing significantly to the review. The review was funded by the Pain Relief Foundation and the Sir Halley Stewart Trust. The views expressed within this report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation or the Trust. The authors report no conflicts of interest.


  • Adolescents, Adolescence, Chronic pain, psychological disorders, psychological symptoms, Mental health disorder, Mental health symptoms, Functioning, Co-occurring.


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